So, you’ve noticed a few patches of mold in your home, don’t panic. Mold spores are a common type of airborne biological pollutant found in homes throughout the US. They can find their way in through open doors and windows and they can also travel by clinging to your clothing or shoes. Though these spores are tiny (only about 2 – 100 microns), they can quickly grow into thriving colonies.
Worryingly, several types of indoor mold can significantly impact your health, causing breathing troubles and rashes.
In this guide, we will help you avoid these issues by exploring how to get rid of mold—for good!
What Do the Experts Say? 8 Mold Statistics
- A World Health Organization review found that dampness is estimated to be present in 20-50% of homes in the US, which is a major risk factor for mold.
- According to the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, mold-related infections cost the US economy about $5.6 billion per year
- The WHO also concluded that dampness and mold are associated with almost a 30-50% increase in rates of respiratory illnesses.
- A study by the EPA estimated about 4.6 million cases of asthma in the US are directly caused by mold.
- The WHO found that asthma-related symptoms like coughs or wheezing are reduced by 25-45% when mold environments are improved.
- A Mayo Clinic study found that 96% of patients with chronic sinus infections have them as a direct result of overexposure to mold.
- A study found that the total annual cost to society attributable to dampness and mold is estimated to be $3.7 billion for allergic rhinitis, $1.9 billion for acute bronchitis, $15.1 billion for asthma morbidity, and $1.7 billion for asthma mortality.
- A report found that Americans spend an average of $2,500 for mold removal.
5 Ways to Prevent Mold Spores in the Air
Those statistics have shown how damaging mold can be, both for your health and for your home. So what can you do to stop it from getting to the stage where you are needing to call out the experts, or start noticing health problems caused by the spores? Here are five easy steps you can take that will help prevent mold from growing and affecting the air quality in your home.
1. Shut doors and windows
Starting off with the simplest method for preventing mold in the first place, keeping your doors and windows closed as much as possible as this is the main way mold can get in your home.
The Environmental Health and Safety department from the University of Washington advises its staff and students: “Doors left open can increase the relative humidity in the room and promote mold growth. Maintaining relative humidity at less than 60% helps to discourage mold growth.”
|Pro tip: Take the time to clean mold off windows|
1. Spray the affected area with a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water
2. Gently wipe away the mold
3. Soak the area with bleach
4. Use a clean dry cloth to dry the area
2. Keep your home dry
A dry home is much less likely to develop mold. The EPA says that: “The key to mold control is moisture control.” Because mold is a type of fungus, it grows in damp places, which is why it’s most often found in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. So keeping your home as dry as possible is essential for mold prevention.
|Pro tip: The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends the following measures:|
– Fix leaks and seepage
– Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces
– Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
– Use storm windows and insulation to raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses
3. Keep your home well-ventilated
Ventilation is another key way to ensure that mold does not have the environment it needs to grow, as well as being better for your health in general, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. This means making sure clean air is flowing through your home and there are plenty of ways you can achieve this, including using an HVAC system with an air conditioning unit and a filter.
|Pro tip: Fans can be a useful tool for improving ventilation throughout your home. You should: |
– Use an exhaust fan in your bathroom and leave it on for half an hour after using the shower
– Run ceiling fans in the kitchen while cooking.
– Install fans in your attic
– Make sure other fans do not vent into the attic, but vent outside your home.
– Install ceiling fans in your basement, especially if there are no windows.
4. Get a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a device that removes moisture from the air. It works by sucking in air, removing the excess moisture, then pushing it out again. Any humidity lingering in the air condenses into water droplets during this process. You can maximize your dehumidifier’s effectiveness by placing it in high-humidity areas. Bathrooms and kitchens are a great place to start.
|Pro tip: When choosing a dehumidifier, there are a few factors to consider:|
1. What size room are you using it in>
2. How much moisture is in the air?
3. Do you need one with a reservoir or a continuous drain?
5. Use an air purifier
The next step toward cleaner, mold-free interior air is installing an air purifier. Much like a dehumidifier, an air purifier pulls in air. However, instead of cooling this air, an air purifier pushes it through a fine filter.
This filter can remove common airborne contaminants, including mold. Air purifiers come in several sizes and types. Here at HouseFresh, we recommend only investing in units which use HEPA and Activated Carbon filters. Finding the right purifier depends on the size of the space you’re using it in and the severity of the problem.
|Pro tip: Choose the best air purifier depending on the room, follow these guidelines:|
Bathroom: The lack of ventilation in most bathrooms plus the warmth and high levels of moisture make mold and mildew a real problem. An air purifier with a true HEPA/H13 filter will capture the greater number of airborne particles, while one with activated carbon or charcoal will help to eradicate unwanted bathroom smells (you know what we mean).
Kitchen: From last night’s cooking to the acrid smell of cleaning products, there are many odors polluting the air in the kitchen. This means you need a purifier with HEPA and Activated Carbon filtration to capture the airborne particles and smells, giving you a fresh and clean-smelling room.
Basement/Attic: Whether you’re using them for storage or as living spaces, basements and attics need purifiers that can tackle the size of the room and improve the air quality, which can be badly affected by poor ventilation. A dehumidifier could also be needed if you have issues with damp in the basement.
Read our guides to find the best options based on our tests:
– 6 Best Air Purifiers For A Bathroom
– 8 Best Kitchen Air Purifiers for Cooking Odors
– 8 Best Air Purifier for Basements
How to Clean Moldy Areas
The thought of cleaning moldy areas can be daunting, especially as it can grow on surfaces that you might not otherwise clean very often. But don’t worry, we’re here with step-by-step instructions. Check out our infographic to find out how to solve your mold problems around your home:
When You Should Call Mold Remediation Services
Mold growth is often hidden, a quality that can make it challenging to get rid of. However, there are a handful of red flags that may indicate mold growth.
Some of the most common signs of mold growth include:
- An earthy smell that permeates the home
- Peeling drywall or ceiling paint
- Unexplained skin rashes
- Difficulty breathing when indoors
- Colored spots on tiles, walls, or flooring
If you notice any of the above symptoms, you may have a mold problem on your hands. You can treat small colonies at home with a mixture of bleach and water. However, widespread mold colonies require professional services.
AVERAGE MOLD REMOVAL COSTS
Mold remediation costs vary, but the average price is about $2,000. If the mold growth has spread or eaten through drywall, you’ll also need to add repair costs to this number. Because mold removal and repair services are pricey, it’s often better to prevent mold growth rather than treat it.
|TYPE OF JOB||COST|
|Bathroom||$500 – $1833|
|Crawl Space||$500 – $1833|
|Basement||$833 – $3167|
|Attic||$1000 – $4833|
|Drywall||$1000 – $13500|
|Concrete Walls||$1100 – $7000|
|Air Ducts||$1900 – $6500|
|Whole House||$11667 – $30000|
|Roof Leak||$413 – $1150|
|Leaking Pipe||$45 – $150 per hour|
|Mold inspections||$332 – $803|
|Mold testing kit||$14 – $45|
The Importance of Preventing Indoor Mold Growth In The First Place
We’ve shown you everything you need to know about removing mold spores in the air, but the easiest way to deal with mold is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Air purifiers and dehumidifiers are ideal for removing mold spores and the moisture that can cause mold. Combine these devices with the tips we’ve given and you can prevent mold from growing in the key problem areas of your home.
Not taking any action can not only lead to health issues but can leave lasting structural damage to your home and destroy your possessions.
This can all be avoided by following our simple tips and investing in a dehumidifier or air purifier.